Amazon.com Widgets

Matt Mitchell: Fiction (2013)

By Published: | 4,250 views
Matt Mitchell: Fiction How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Pianist Matt Mitchell's debut solo recording, Fiction, is actually a duo recording. And while it is a performance of fifteen compositions, the music was originally conceived of as etudes, or short pieces—exercises to improve the pianist's ability to incorporate improvisation into composed music.

Mitchell is quite the in-demand sideman. He can be heard in Tim Berne
Tim Berne
Tim Berne
b.1954
saxophone
's Snakeoil, Dave Douglas
Dave Douglas
Dave Douglas
b.1963
trumpet
' Quintet, Darius Jones
Darius Jones
Darius Jones

sax, alto
' Quartet, John Hollenbeck
John Hollenbeck
John Hollenbeck
b.1968
drums
's Claudia Quintet, and in the bands of Michael Attias
Michael Attias
Michael Attias
b.1968
saxophone
and Rudresh Mahanthappa
Rudresh Mahanthappa
Rudresh Mahanthappa
b.1971
sax, alto
.

This recording found its roots in Berne's Snakeoil tours when drummer Ches Smith began to play along with Mitchell's etudes. Smith is a player equally conversant in the languages of jazz and DIY rock. For him, swing and smash are confederates. He plays in the bands of Marc Ribot
Marc Ribot
Marc Ribot
b.1954
guitar
, and Mary Halvorson, and leads his own trio and quintet.

These etudes, presented for piano and drums, can best be described as Cecil Taylor
Cecil Taylor
Cecil Taylor
b.1929
piano
plays Scarlatti. Mitchell employs extreme changes and twisting intervals, scraping odd rhythms against changing harmonics. The duo makes for a sympathetic pairing. Smith reads and interprets the pieces, matching Mitchell's percussive attack on "Upright," mimicking his funny walk on "Singe," and tracing (with vibraphone) the mathematical melody of "Wanton Eon."

The dense, ever-changing compositions give little respite to the ear. Mitchell's "Brain Color" is a hallucination that gives the impression of deconstructing Thelonious Monk's "Round Midnight." Here, he out-angles Monk's angular music. Mitchell hints at the melody like a hip-hop DJ, sampling pieces and parts of a dream Thelonious might have had. Mitchell and Smith pummel notes into the shape—but not necessarily the language—of Monk, but instead the late pianist's spirit. These exercises exhaust, invigorate, and ultimately inspire.

Track Listing: Veins; Brain Color; Upright; Singe; Wanton Eon; Dadaist Flu; Commas; Id Balm; Ohm Nuggets; Diction; Tether; Action Field; Specialty Hug; Nightmare Tesseract; Narcotic Bases.

Personnel: Matt Mitchell: piano; Ches Smith: drums, percussion, vibraphone.

Record Label: Pi Recordings


comments powered by Disqus
Search
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Mark Elf

Mark Elf

About | Enter

Stefano Bollani

Stefano Bollani

About | Enter

Carmen Lundy

Carmen Lundy

About | Enter

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Bandzoogle: GET STARTED TODAY - FREE TRIAL

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

Article Search